If your mouth were a Hollywood movie, your teeth would be the stars. They shine in the spotlight (when you smile) and they do a lot of work (biting and chewing food).
But your teeth could not do any of those things without the other members of the team. A movie needs supporting characters, too, and in this case, your gums fill that role.
This is not meant as a slight to your gums. Indeed, your gums play a vital part in maintaining your oral health, which is why dentists are so concerned about preventing gum disease.
At Marineland Dental Care, we want all our patients in and around Kennewick, WA, to know what they should do to prevent periodontal problems. If you do have them, we also want you to know that Dr. Hadley and our staff are ready, willing, and able to provide the treatment that you and your gums need.
Types Of Gum Disease
Periodontal disease, not tooth decay, is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States. Many of those problems could be avoided with proper oral care and by taking action as soon as you recognize the signs of gum disease.
Gingivitis and periodontitis are the two major forms of periodontal disease. The good news is that both are treatable and preventable.
This is considered the milder form of gum disease. Conservative estimates indicate that half of the US population has gingivitis at any time.
The surest sign that you have gingivitis is when your gums bleed while you are brushing or flossing your teeth. Often this is an indication that you haven’t been brushing or flossing as often or as well as you should.
Another sign of gingivitis is the appearance of your gums. Your gums may look redder than usual or swollen when you have this condition.
Treating gingivitis often can be done at home by following the American Dental Association’s guidelines.
This means brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time while using a toothpaste with fluoride. Be sure to scrub all your teeth from all angles.
You also need to clean between your teeth at gums once every day. Dental floss is the most common tool for accomplishing this, but some people have trouble using floss. If you are one of them, consider using a flosser (which has a small handle with a piece of floss on one end), a water flosser, or another interdental cleaning device.
If you allow your gingivitis to continue untreated, it can develop into periodontitis. This is a more advanced form of gum disease.
The symptoms of this include the things we mentioned above, as well as some other more serious issues.
Gum recession — the separation of your gums from your teeth — can occur at this stage. You may notice your gums feel sore or tender as well. They may even bleed more easily (i.e. not just when you are brushing and flossing).
Loose teeth also are common with this form of gum disease. In addition to gum recession, your periodontal disease may start attacking the bone that holds the roots of your teeth in place.
Bad breath can be a constant problem when you have gum disease, too. You also may notice a lingering bad taste in your mouth.
Unlike gingivitis, periodontitis is not something you can take care of on your own. Call us right as soon as you can if you notice symptoms of this condition.
Reasons To Treat Gum Disease
We already mentioned one of the major problems associated with gum disease. Tooth loss does not do anything to improve the appearance of your smile.
Fighting gum disease is particularly important for individuals who have diabetes. Unfortunately, people with diabetes also are more prone to develop gum disease.
Researchers know that dry mouth is more common among people with diabetes. Dry mouth increases your risk of having gum disease.
This gets more complicated because gum disease can interfere with your ability to control your blood sugar levels as well.
If you care about your heart, then you should care about preventing and treating gum disease as well. Scientists have found a correlation between gum disease and heart problems. Research has shown that the bacteria that causes periodontal disease also plays a role in strokes.
Fight For Your Gums
If you want a healthy mouth, please take care of your teeth and your gums. Brush, floss, and visit Marineland Dental Care for cleanings and examinations a few times every year.